Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Black Milk "Album of the Year"

Damn that’s bold. How you gonna come out with an album titled Album of the Year? I haven’t listened to Black Milk for the duration of an album once. Tronic I made it through after a few tries on separate occasions and I always came back to the opening jam - talk about a beat! But I couldn't help but laugh at this new project upon learning the name. Damn was I wrong.

Milk has always fell into the wannabe Dilla category to me. I know he has history in the town proving he is more than a mere biter, but his tracks rarely struck me as too much more than dope drums and boring samples. Perhaps this is why Album of the Year strikes such a chord. Gone are the rehashed sample flips, in place are live instruments everywhere. It’s glorious.

The drums still crack, and according to Milk he would program the drums and start a track out there before bringing in the players and having everyone get down. He is credited with playing keys and a few other instruments throughout the album, my guess is he sketched much of this out on his MPC and then orchestrated it all in the lab. It feels grown up, mature. The sound he has been flirting with for the better part of a decade is finally realized here.

Lyrically Black Milk is far from your average producer who raps. Maybe it is just something in the water around the 313, talent seems innate for cats around those parts. His flow is forever liquid, riding the beats he birthed to unforeseen heights. The things I loved about “Long Story Short” are sustained for the duration of Album of the Year. He is open and honest about the year he has had, the trials he has gone through and the hurt he has experieneced. He has lived some life and he wrote us some rhymes to express his emotion. It’s honesty on wax... er in ones and zereos.

Even with some dark times behind him, Milk didn’t craft a dreary record. He opens it with one of the most celebratory tracks I’ve heard this year, between the horns and mashing drums you won’t be able to do much but jump and scream when “365” drops. Elsewhere he is gonna make you chuckle at his cleverly witty lines, verbose verbiage and overall new demeanor on the mic. I guess I’m late to the party though, perhaps this is what peoples have been diggin him for all this time and I just never heard it. I’m listening now, are you?

If you haven't seen it get over to the Detroit Metro Times where you can catch Jonathan Cunningham's feature on Black Milk - dudes chopped it up for the better part of 2 hours, you better believe there is some great insight for your brains!

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